The Woman in Black (2012) Channel 4 9pm
Posted by celticman on Mon, 31 Mar 2014
I’ve always meant to read this novel. Now I’ve spoiled it and watched the Hammer House of Hokum directed by James Watkins, with the screenplay by Jane Goldman, first. I’ve always liked a bit of Gothic. The name Arthur Kipps immediately makes me think of Pip and John Mills. I suppose we make do with the boyish Daniel Radcliffe as the man that is sent to settle the estate of the late Mrs Alice Drablow. Drablow is a Dickensian sounding name and Kipps’s boss warns him before he goes—this is his last chance, his employers have been more than fair giving him a day off to attend his own wife’s funeral, but he’s got to pull his weight, or else…Drablow, of course, does not live in a cosy part of England. There’s something of du Maurier’s factional Manderley about the Drablow house, separated by a causeway from the village of Crythin Gifford. Then again there’s something of a hissing Dracula and the house on the hill. The villagers shun young Kipps when her first arrives. He may be a gentleman, but he doesn’t know what he’s dealing with. Luckily for him (Ciarán Hinds) as the local squire Daily is on hand to say stuff and nonsense to such hoo-ha and to help Kipps. Unluckily for Daily his wife’s been touched by the Woman in Black and their son taken. Kipps is actually an infectious disease. It’s not really his fault. Any time he sees the Woman in Black a child must die. That’s the equation. The film lasts an hour and half, any longer and half the children in Wales would have been wiped out. The problem with showing such representations of such a diabolic creature is that they are never diabolic enough. You can crank up the music as much as you like, but when we actually see the Woman in Black we think ho-hum. Anyway Arthur Kipps knows how to deal with her. A fresh wooden stake through the heart. Stuff her mouth full or garlic. Cut her head off. Burn her body. Raze the town of Merthyr Tydfil. I need to lie down. I’ve been watching too many documentaries about the trenches and the Great War.